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Castlewood Treatment Center: A Second Lawsuit is Filed.

February 16, 2012

This just in today. A second lawsuit has just been filed by a 26 year old woman, also from Minnesota, against Castlewood Treatment Center and Mark Schwartz. Click here for details.

The lawsuit against the eating disorders treatment center is very similar to the first one, filed by ex-Castlewood patient Lisa Nasseff.  After Lisa Nasseff spoke out publicly about the center in an interview that is now available online, Castlewood and Schwartz are seeking a gag order that would forbid any parties from speaking publicly during this case. Decision by the court on whether to grant the gag order is pending. The second lawsuit, filed by Leslie Thompson, alleges being led at Castlewood to believing she has multiple personalities, as well as repressed memories of satanic ritual abuse. We now know that Lisa Nasseff is not alone in her allegations. The report states that there are others who willing to be witnesses who corroborate these women but for most, the statute of limitations had expired and so they were unable to sue.

  1. Interesting that this request for a gag order states in this article from 2-24-12 that “comments made to the media have tainted the jury pool.” Is this any indication a trial is moving forward or just posturing on Castlewood’s part? Wondering.

  2. Mark Schwartz is opening a center in California. Didn’t know this but he married his coworker, Lori Galperin. Looks like they are trying to spread the Internal Family Systems treatment (that both admit has no clinical trials) to the West Coast. Thank goodness people on the West Coast have access to the internet. I hope those lawsuits go to trial.

  3. Stephanie Burgess permalink

    I am a ex client of Castlewood Treatment Center and I would like to say that going there saved my life and many others. Although the IFS treatment ay be unfamiliar to many, does that mean it isn’t effective?I believe not! For me, it was extremely effective in saving my life. I would also like to row out the topic of self accountability verses blaming others. Personally, I don’t know the plaintiffs so I can only share what I experienced and learned in my 2 month short stay there, and although I could fill pages full of all that I learned there, I will not waste tmy time doing this. I know there are many many others who can attest to this. However,I will say that every four days, my insurance company denied me extensions and Castlewood fought vehemently against the insurance company, in appeal after appeal, to provide me the time they could in order for me to gain as much as possible in hopes that some of what they offered to me would get through all my self destructive thinking and behaviors and it worked for me. I regret that I wasted so much of those early days there but accept that because of the many treatment centers I went in and out of like a swinging door, I needed to learn that this place was different and so I took the risk to try once again. Castlewood also took a risk with me as well…Once I made the choice to seek residential treatment, I encountered many closed doors because of all the physical complications I had. In fact, prior to them accepting me, I had decided this was the last effort I would make to seek treatment and I’m so grateful they did. In fact, not only did they take a risk where other centers denied me, they took extrodinary steps to help me with my physical problems, even though their structure is set up for many, they do what they can for giving the individual specialized treatment and support.
    As for my opinion of Mark, I must confess that when I first entered Castlewood, I projected onto him extreme power and was terrified of him. Yet, as I began to listen to what he shared in groups and presentations, although I kept my distance and he respected my choice, when he spoke and what information he willingly shared was like honey is to a starving bee. And, eventually the fear turned into respect and admiration…wanting more of what he has learned over the many years of experience him and Lori have. Both of them are, in my opinion, brilliant, and I will say that this client (me) holds him and his wife Lori,as well as many of the staff there at Castlewood, in high esteem, so much so, that I hold out great hope that after they establish their center on the west coast, that they seriously consider expanding to the East Coast. A dream of mine that I hope I live long enough to see come true. You see, not only am I trying to recover from my Eating Disorder, that I now understand I used as a coping strategy because of past trauma, I also have been recently diagnosed with a terminal illness which was an impetus that resulted in my willingness to enter Castlewoods gates. Prior to seeking help, I was actively wishing to end my life. And now, after going through my experience there, I no longer wish to end my life prematurely. Instead, I am, for the first time in many years, strongly motivated to live, not just exist, but live to the fullest whatever remaining time I have. That was the most precious gift from Castlewood I could get and I will ALWAYS be grateful for. And although I also admit that my transistion from Castlewood has been extremely difficult, I am actively trying to utilize the new information and skills I learned while I was there to pursue my goal of embracing life each day as much as possible.
    So I ask those who read this, if you choose to play the judge, do so in balance. I hope this trail in the public arena stops, however, if not, I ask, Please, do not judge Castlewood in the public arena without hearing from the many… Question those that are benefitting from what this ‘sanctuary’ provides for us who are looking to change what isn’t working. Castlewood isn’t to blame for those that don’t have good insurance, like me. They fought for my right to be there for as long as possible. If blame must be sought, look at the insurance companies. If my insurance didn’t refuse to pay, I would still be at Castlewood practicing slowly what I learned while slowly taking on greater responsibility while I experience greater freedom. Their transistional programming is so essential… Making huge lifestyle changes isn’t an event that you can immediately perfect overnight… I learned there that on average, it takes about 7 years to recover. Fortunately, some people have better insurance coverage than I do. I envy them. I refuse to blame those whose intent was to help me. I don’t have time to be distracted by this folly. I am accepting that which I have no control over, yet I also am choosing to utilize what I learned there while I go through this horrendous process. I would also like to say that there are far too many of us out there suffering and dying who desperately are needing and wanting help. Yet, the demand is huge and there aren’t very many treatment centers available. So, my annoyance is directed to the greed of profit making insurance companies who are fully aware of the low rate of recovery and decide its far more cost effective to refuse to provide the approve the necessary treatment that is needed. This, I believe, is what needs to be judged. Not those whose intent is to help whom they can given the limits and restrictions put forth by the greed of profit/cost analysis that most insurance companies use. This is the underlying problem…
    Because of my own struggle, I am able to feel compassion for the plaintiffs. I learned at Castlewood that each and every one of us are right where they need to be in their recovery process. We are all human, therefore imperfect and sometimes we cannot see clearly what we are doing. If Castlewood didn’t help you, I say to the plaintiffs, keep looking for the help you need. Don’t get distracted by blame and revenge, don’t be a part of the problem, move on and save yourself… Life is short. There is so little help out there for us, instead of worrying about others, keep the focus on you and your recovery. You are the most important person in your life. I learned that and so much more at Castlewood. Get the help you need, whatever and wherever it takes you… If there is anything you gained from your experience at Castlewood that helps you in your recovery, embrace that and go from there.
    To those that participate in the public arena, I challenge you to learn more about the many many other therapies Castlewood integrates into their program besides IFS, or read a book about IFS, it may or may not have been tested, as one person commented. I don’t know nor do I care but I can tell you and name off several life saving therapies that have saved lives and also fall under that same umbrella. I challenge all of you to get the full picture before judging. I am very sad to hear about the legal struggle playing itself out in public… but I am living proof that Castlewood provides so much more than just simply force feeding and regimentation. The behaviors are just symptoms that something isn’t working, nothing more. But Castlewood digs deeper and has us look at what is going on internally… That is EFFECTIVE…. THAT IS RECOVERY for me. Enough said.

    • You ask: “Although the IFS treatment ay be unfamiliar to many, does that mean it isn’t effective?” — Unfamiliarity is not the issue here. The issue is that IFS has not been properly tested and shown to be effective with properly conducted, peer reviewed research and as a result, there are mixed anecdotes. You just gave us your own testimonial that it worked for you. That’s great, but I have also heard from people who feel just as strongly as you do, but in the opposite direction, that they were greatly harmed by IFS and as we can see, there are at least three clients who felt strongly enough that they were harmed by Castlewood Treatment Center that they sued them and more who have come forward to media.

      I am not “playing judge”. What I am doing is evaluating the evidence that exists to support the efficacy of IFS, something that my credentials enable and qualify me to do and IFS comes up short. The point is that IFS has the burden of proof to show, via independently conducted randomized controlled clinical trials, that it is safe and effective and they have not done so. You might want to argue that we haven’t proved it is ineffective either, but that would be a fallacy known as reversing the burden of proof. You say “it may or may not have been tested”. Are you aware that the director of Castlewood admitted in an article he co-authored with the founder of IFS, that it has not been properly tested? I linked to that article.

      It is interesting that if the treatment in question was one for a purely physical condition, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Most people would not argue that that just because the mainstream medical establishment is “unfamiliar” with a treatment for cancer that had not gone through properly published clinical trials, that this doesn’t mean it should not be used. That would be immediately recognized for what it is, medical quackery. However, with psychological treatments, most lay people are much more lenient, and this has been to their detriment. In the medical world, such a treatment would only be offered to people under carefully controlled experimental conditions and only after research supported treatments had been tried and failed. Participants would be fully informed that they were getting an experimental treatment and informed of its risks and benefits. Unfortunately for their clients, some mental health professionals do not do this when they give them an untested treatment. Hence, there have now been consequences when the legal system must take over and do what the mental health professionals should have done, but failed to do.

      Before going out and promoting an untested therapy, you might want to read some of the many legal cases that are in existence where great harm has been done by therapists who used such untested approaches. During the 1990s, there were many such cases involving recovered memories that turned out to be false memories of Satanic ritual abuse, which is also what these cases are about.

      You may, understandably, care only about your own results and not care of something is properly tested because apparently you were lucky. However, I can assure you there are people who have feelings just as strong as yours, in the other direction and they do care very much whether the approaches had been properly tested, as would any ethical mental health professional.

  4. Stephanie,

    I have read up on IFS, that is why I am against it. It’s been kicking around for decades and was dreamed up during the repressed memory movement. It has no credible clinical trials to date (despite decades since its invention) and its guru leader charges over $3,000 to get a meaningless certification in it…it’s new age quackery. Richard Schwartz (who teaches his stuff at new age centers that also teach about ghosts and psychic readings) could get away with this stuff decades ago when anyone with an idea could promote it. We’ve learned the harm of those days. The “parts” he speaks of are creations of the therapist and client and risk producing confabulated memories or downright fabrications. Any therapist who believes in debunked repressed memory therapy can easily twist the patient narrative using IFS, feeding a belief system by suggestively leading a patient to role play a “part” confirming the therapist bias.For some that is shamanism, for others it’s dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities) and for still others it’s Satanic Ritual Abuse, to name a few. It’s dangerous because it plays on fear and beliefs of the therapist/client relationship.

    As for Mark’s own personal beliefs, he and his wife have a long documented history of using drama and hysterical group therapy to convince women of Satanic Ritual Abuse as this article written over a decade ago shows. He and his wife were called out then. Had the licensing board shut them down, they couldn’t have gone on to Castlewood to pull the same exact crap.

    I wish you well. I also wish the licensing boards and the APA would come out against harmful therapies and therapists with decades long history of harming patients.

  5. Castelwood Victims permalink is an on-line email and blog based resource dedicated to helping victims of the Castlewood Treatment Center in St. Louis, Missouri. If you, a family member, or loved one was damaged by the Castlewood Treatment Center’s horrific and dangerous therapeutic practices feel free to contact us. Tell us your story, or read the stories of other victims and family members who have had their lives destroyed or irrevocably damaged by Mark Schwartz and the staff he leads at Castlewood. Our goal is to bring as many Castlewood victims as possible together in a support group environment. There is strength in numbers. United we can help each other cope with the results of Castlewood’s malpractice, and find ways to have that business investigated by local and state agencies. Contact us using your real name, or anonymously until you feel more comfortable. Always remember, no matter how badly your family was damaged by Castlewood, there is always hope. You are NOT alone!

  6. Mrs. Stevens permalink

    I sent an email to this link to find out where the blog is and never got a response. Are you sure this wasn’t set up by Castlewood itself?

  7. castlewood victims permalink

    Trust me…we are NOT affiliated with Castlewood in any way, other than being subjected to their misguided therapy model. We are in the process of putting up a facebook page and a yahoo group. We want to be sure we have the proper privacy controls to discuss such sensitive matters. If you don’t have a story to tell…stay tuned…we have many to share shortly. Inevitably, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences. Castlewood and its minions are no exception.

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